Long An Customs: Modernizing Customs, Facilitating Importers and Exporters

9:51:18 AM | 16/5/2023

In the coming time, the customs sector of Long An province will foster digital transformation in professional activities in a comprehensive and synchronous manner, thus bringing about dual benefits of helping businesses reduce time for customs clearance of goods and helping customs agencies save manpower, expense and time. Vietnam Business Forum has an exclusive interview with Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Huan, Director of Long An Customs Department, on this matter.

Could you please tell us your key tasks in 2023?

In 2023, the Long An Customs Department was assigned to collect VND5,000 billion by the Ministry of Finance, 6% higher than the target assigned in 2022 and 4% higher than the outcome in 2022. To fulfill this target at the highest level, the department thoroughly requested every employee to strictly implement Directive 479/CT-TCHQ dated February 6, 2023 of the General Department of Vietnam Customs on implementation of consistent and drastic solutions to facilitate trade, improve the performance of State agencies and prevent revenue loss in budget collection in 2023. Wherein, the priority is given to applying administrative procedure reform solutions and facilitating importers and exporters.

As of March 24, 2023, we collected VND896 billion for the State coffers, equal to nearly 18% of the full-year target and down 15% year on year. The decline was attributed to various reasons: Rollover customs declarations from the previous year fell 73% and revenue from imported and exported goods dropped VND161 billion from the same period in 2022.

Given the three-month performance, it will be very hard to beat the target; however, we are determined to work hard for the best outcome.

In the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the globalization trend, the customs sector is also moving toward a digital and smart customs model. How have you adopted this approach?

While advancing information technology application to administrative procedure reform and service to people and businesses, we have also gradually applied comprehensive information technology in all professional aspects such as customs management supervision, import and export tax collection management, taxable price management, risk management, post-customs clearance inspection and investigation, anti-smuggling and violation handling.

Up to now, the Long An Customs Department has applied electronic direction and administration from the departmental level to branch level. Customs procedures have been carried out automatically (except for yellow-label and red-label declarations) for electronic documents. The department also signed a memorandum of understanding with six companies participating in the Program for Voluntary Compliance with the Customs Law; established a reliable customs-business partnership in import and export activities to further enable trade facilitation in line with international practices.

All 13 ports and five bonded warehouses and yards administered by the department meet conditions for the VASSCM System. Its customs offices have electronically monitored positioning seals for all goods transported independently and goods transferred to border gates. Warehouse, yard and port operators can automatically look up information on eligible goods through monitoring areas. Enterprises that implement import and export procedures can take the initiative in delivery and receipt of goods.

In the coming time, we will continue to update new, advanced technologies to complete digital transformation by 2025, synchronously deploy smart customs on all means of information technology, and facilitate enterprises in customs declaration as well as freight import and export.

Long An International Port is an import-export hub for the Mekong Delta region

What are the goals and priority areas for development? What are key solutions that you will focus on in the coming time?

In addition to strengthening international integration, we will facilitate trade and effectively administer customs. We will firmly and synchronously implement action plans on administrative procedure reform and customs modernization; and launch Plan 230/KH-HQLA dated February 13, 2023 on administrative reform in 2023 with five main goals and seven specific tasks. We will enhance our partnership with businesses and related parties according to our action plans as per Decision 93/QD-HQLA dated February 27, 2023, thus encouraging and facilitating enterprises to participate and accompany them in the implementation process.

Furthermore, the department will acquire and improve professional qualifications, with a focus on customs valuation, commodity coding, and certificate of origin (C/O). We will also expand our workforce, and establish the Customs Office of Long An International Port by upgrading the Long Hau Customs Procedures Team. It will also step up multiple inspection and self-inspection at its units.

Last but not least, we will constantly improve the quality of service to people and businesses; remove difficulties and problems related to customs procedures, tax policy, commodity value, and origin of commodities, hence improving the business environment and strengthening local competitiveness.

Thank you so much!

By Manh Dung, Vietnam Business Forum